Alan joined the Australis in Melbourne as one of the many "working holiday Aussies" bound for great adventures in the UK and Europe. His travelling companion was a good friend, Carl Hanks, whom he had worked with at Winston Charles in Melbourne whilst saving for the trip.
He was seen off by all of his friends from Winston Charles as well as family and friends who were soon replaced by his new family and friends from among the Australis passengers.
Cruise 33 Northbound left Melbourne in March 1972 and took him from Melbourne to Sydney and then on to Auckland, New Zealand. Across the Pacific to Acapulco, Mexico and then down to the Panama Canal with a stop at Colon. Next port of call was Fort Lauderdale, Florida and then they crossed the Atlantic to Southampton. A tremendous storm hit the ship, by which time Alan had conquered his seasickness, he can vividly recall standing below the bridge, hanging on for dear life as the Australis corkscrewed magnificently into the huge oncoming swells.
Alan settled into shipboard life very quickly and met a large number of people such as (in no particular order) Dave Gothard (pommie Dave) Lexie, Meg, Scott Hipkiss, Jenny Penny, Chris Castello, Pat Mead, Rick Stapleton, Rodney (Lurch), Colin from Swanage, The Swiss crew, Peter Pfister, Bert and Marianne plus the Stowaways!!.
The year was 1972, the Munich Olympics were being held, and the ship was carrying the Australian and New Zealand beer drinking teams. There were a number of organised drinking competitions on board. Alan recalls that they all took part in shipboard life from Beef Tea on the Promenade deck at 11.00 am. to the terrific shows and functions. There were bingo games and daily competitions like the "ships tote" where you had to guess the distance the ship had travelled in the past 24 hour period. When tiring of these organised activities, they invented their own games such as the Drop Down club (members falling to the ground and lying inert for a time until the keyword "Paradise Island" was heard"). Another pastime was Tying the Bra on the cable strung between the two large poles by the pool. He recalls that there was a very sooty black bra still flying when the ship docked in Southampton.
All in all Alan said that his time on the Australis was huge fun and basically a four week party during which they spent most of the time laughing and falling down (due to drink no doubt!!! ...Ken).
The Australis has made a huge impression on Alan and he always wondered what had become of her. He was saddened to find out the fate of the ship when surfing the "Australis Homepage". Alan prefered to remember her as she was, the wonderful art deco interior and furnishings. Alan welcomes any correspondence from people on Cruise 33N which left Melbourne in March 1972, arriving at Southampton sometime in April 1972. Alan can be contacted at: email@example.com
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